Common myths and facts about diabetes

Being among the most widespread maladies, diabetes has many myths surrounding it. Let's must a few common myths about diabetes

Myths abour diabetes

There is a glut of information, and erroneous beliefs, on diabetes. This is all the more reason why you should make sure you’re getting the right information. Let’s explore a few common myths about diabetes.

Common myths and facts about diabetes

Myth #1: You should avoid all sweet fruits

Fruits and vegetables are good for diabetics. Vegetables reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers and gut problems. It is best to eat at least 1-2 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. A variety of different fruits [including bananas and grapes] and vegetables is your best health insurance policy.

Myth #2: Diabetes runs in your family

It is widely believed that diabetes is inherited, but this is not true. One can have Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes even without a family history. It is, however, true that a person has a higher risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, if there is a family history.

Myth #3: Too much sugar causes diabetes

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. But, eating a diet rich in fat, carbs and sugar can make you overweight and being overweight increases your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

Myth #4: You can have “mild” diabetes

There is no such thing as mild diabetes. Once you’re a diabetic, you face all the risks associated with diabetes.

Myth #5: You can “get” diabetes from someone

Diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like flu or coronavirus .

Myth #6: If you have diabetes, you can never eat sweets

Sweet foods, especially those that are naturally sweet, are safe for diabetics if they eat them as part of a healthy diet. It is best to limit them, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

Myth #7: No driving for diabetics

If you keep your sugar in control, you can drive safely. Studies show that people with diabetes are no less safe on the roads than non-diabetics.

Myth #8: Diabetes happens only in the middle-age

There is a common myth that youngsters and the elderly don’t develop diabetes. The disease doesn’t have age bias. Young people [12-14] years and the elderly who are as old as 70 can develop the malady.

Myth #9: Diabetics cannot exercise

People with diabetes should exercise regularly. This has to be made a part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active helps avoid complications, such as heart disease. A diabetic should, of course, take into account their diabetes status before taking up a new exercise regime. It is best to speak to a doctor before embarking on an exercise programme.

Myth #10: Diabetes is very common and need not be taken seriously

Did you know that each year diabetes takes more lives than breast cancer and AIDS combined? If you have diabetes, your risk of having a heart attack increase significantly. Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable blindness (diabetic retinopathy) as well as foot infections and even gangrene. Kidney complications (diabetic nephropathy) is also a common condition in diabetics. So no, you cannot take diabetes lightly.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Dr W R Patil, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine, MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai.


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